Wednesday, August 23, 2006

When Mob-rule gets its way over Reason.

Here is the scary world we live in... :
Two Asian students were thrown off a plane (en route from Malaga to Manchester) at gunpoint because other passengers feared they were terrorists. (The Guardian)
This shows we should be more scared of people's reaction these days than of the terrorists. Here's how one of the passengers defended their action:

"It was a return holiday flight, full of people in flip-flops and shorts. There were just two people in the whole crowd who looked like they didn't belong there." (BBC)

The BBC has some good explanations about group hysteria. Another psychologist dismisses this is paranoia, but frankly I am not convinced. What I find amazing is that the airline (or the captain) caved in to mob-rule. Fear can really make people do amazing things but it's up to the airline, the aiport and the crew to reason with people, isn't it?

I find the two Asians who were thrown off way too forgiving.

One of them told the Daily Mirror (in The Guardian)

"These are nervous times and I can understand why people are so panicked," adding, "We might be Asian, but we're two ordinary lads who wanted a bit of fun. Just because we're Muslim does not mean we are suicide bombers."

And the other said:

"I don't blame anyone for what happened. Actually I feel sorry for the people who thought we were terrorists."

So what's next? Shoot and ask questions later? Or a new version of good old lynching? This madness needs to stop.


UPDATE: More of the same, it seems. I wonder what this one is going to turn out to be :
Dutch police detained 12 passengers who were allegedly behaving suspiciously on a US airline flight to India that returned to Amsterdam shortly after takeoff today.
CNN has some tentative explanations. As for me, I'm flying on Monday from the U.S. to Britain, I'd better be prepared for a long trip... . Should I wear shorts and flip-flop? Or do it in the nude?

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